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Two schools close in Iberia Parish

Posted at 10:25 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 23:26:51-04

The Iberia Parish School board has decided the fate of two schools at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The board has voted to close Jeanerette Elementary School and North Street Elementary.

The principal of Jeanerette Elementary, Devon Willis-Jones spoke during the meeting saying that she takes the closure personally but she understands why the closure was done.

Devon Willis-Jones / KATC

“I take the closure of my school personally and my heart hurts. Do I want it? No. I do understand it. We will continue to serve our students and do what’s best for our kids,” Willis-Jones said.

Students from Jeanerette Elementary would be sent to St. Charles Street Elementary School.

The board also voted to close North Street Elementary school.

North Street students would be transferred to Daspit Road Elementary and Park Elementary Schools.

A parent at the meeting said that the school system should be proud of the work they are doing to make sure students are excelling.

Others did not have the same sentiments.

Lots of teachers and parents in the crowd. Emotional about the decision to close schools in Iberia Parish / KATC

“This was not open or honest to anyone in our community. Our relationship has been tarnished with this board. I’m grieving the death of a community and a family. We should’ve been told sooner. North Street probably would have been forced to close if the tax passed or not,” another person told the board.

Earlier today, KATC spoke with Superintendent Carey Laviolette.  Laviolette says that because students continue to leave the school system, the budget continues to be cut. This leaves a lack of funding to keep these two schools up and running.

“1.1 million, we will save, which is actually not enough. The state is cutting us 2.77 and they cut us 2.2 in February, and we had a deficit for the past three years cumulative of 5.1 million. We can’t continue to do that. We won’t have money left very soon,” says Laviolette.

She added the students are top priority and the board is prepared to go above and beyond to ensure a comfortable transition if they decide to close the schools.

The motion has passed to close Jeanerette Elementary / KATC’s Chris Welty

Video from the meeting can be viewed below: